Pablo Escobar’s name continues to send chills down spines in cities around the world. The horrendous crimes he committed during his reign as the world’s most powerful drug lord are well documented and the subject of countless books and movies, namely the popular Netflix series Narcos. The name Escobar will always make people pay attention.
That is why Pablo Escobar’s son Juan Pablo changed his name to Sebastian Marroquin after he and his family, fearing for their lives in Colombia, fled to Argentina after Pablo’s death. The name change was necessary, if he were to start anew, he needed to shed the name that embodied all the horrors and bloodshed his father built his empire on.
While authorities toasted to the successful elimination of Escobar, his son and family tried to cope with the loss of their beloved husband and father. Juan Pablo, now known as Sebastian Marroquin, knew one thing for certain, as he put it eloquently in the acknowledgements of his book: “To my father, who showed me what path not to take.”
His life would not be about drug routes and murders, he became an architect, industrial designer and writer in Buenos Aires. Remaining silent about his father, but always thinking about him and the two sides to his story.
In 2014, he was ready to share his thoughts about his father with the rest of the world. He had written the book Pablo Escobar, My Father, in Spanish, which he describes as an intimate investigation into his father's life. Not the story of a child seeking redemption for his father, but a look at the consequences of violence and the overwhelming need for peace and forgiveness.
Last week, the book was released in English in North America and the rest of the world. To promote it, Juan Pablo Escobar had a Skype interview with CNN’s Moni Basu in which he explains his motivations and struggle.
“Not all of my father's history and its acts are full of evil,” 39-year-old Marroquin tells CNN. Yet he can’t deny the vicious crimes he committed. “I have to live with both truths. The love I feel for him is not negotiable -- he was an excellent father. It's not easy to admit to the world the great cruelty of my father.”
His father had no issues with his chosen profession. “He had no intention of changing his life,” Marroquin says, adding that he didn’t try to lead his son down the same path either. “He told me if I wanted to be a doctor, he would give me the best hospital. He never wanted me to follow in his footsteps.”
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